Monday, November 18, 2013

Exam Stress & Nostalgia

I should be desperately writing my novel, and I am, I am.
Sitting by a window in the deserted university cafe, all the kids students in Swot-vac or exams, coffee beside me (have I mentioned how much I love being able to drink coffee again? a few times? Let me mention it again). I've got one computer window up on my manuscript, one up on a word count doc, one up on the Nano site to enter my word count, and I'm all set to pound out five or six thousand words. But instead I'm staring hazily around, getting all nostalgic.
And stressed. Let's not forget stressed.
You see, my Beloved is sitting his exams somewhere in the building.
You know, the exams that are the make-or-break. The barrier exams. The exams worth more than any other of the whole four years. Next year is pretty much just a matter of turning up and applying for internships.
This is it. The do-we-have-to-do-this-year-all-over-again time.
Deep breath.
He can do this. We can do this.
But you know exams. And examiners. They're tricksy and mean and completely random. (In my completely unbiased opinion. I'm only talking med exams here. I only had about three exams in my three degrees, and my main exam memories are of pleasantly writing an essay about Byzantium in the sixth century. Something about Malalas?  Okay, the Latin one sucked. Even if I'd understood the Latin bit, I hadn't a clue about 'grammar talk' - past participle? what the heck is that? Med exams are a completely different kettle of fish.)
Anyway, my Beloved is on day two of five. We dropped him off at 7.45am and we'll pick him up at 5.00pm.
Unfortunately, in exam stress, we ordered pizza last night and my Beloved ordered chilli. Extra hot. 10/10 on the heat scale. He's suffering today.
It's almost de ja vu-y, because three years ago (give or take a few months) when he was doing his multiple-mini-interviews to get into the course, he suffered similarly. We'd all flown down from Queensland, then made the drive out to the country, staying in the cheapest motel for the night, our six month old Poppet sleeping on a makeshift bed on the floor, our Sprocket curled between us, and my Beloved decided to break six months of no wheat with… a pizza. And garlic bread.
And suffered for it.
My main memory of  his interview is of taking the kids to a completely wonderful wooden-fort-playground and the Poppet having one of those nappies that just explodes. It went everywhere. And I mean everywhere. And for some reason I didn't have a change of clothes on me (stupid mama) and had to make the trek to Coles with the not quite two year old and the six month old who was…in an interesting state.
But I remember the excitement of driving out the day before, heading through lush and gently rolling hills of green, and gushing over how this could be our home. Can you imagine? This could be our home. For four years.
That amount of time in the one place seemed inconceivable.
And now that time way in the future is now. All going well we'll be on the final stretch soon.
And we're full of the same nerves and stress as we were then, and I keep stopping to tap my fingers on the table. (I should have made sure he got more study time. I should have sent him to the library more often.)
Tap. Tap. Tap. Taptaptap.
Back to writing.
Maybe another cup of coffee?


  1. Thank you! We're feeling a lot better now the week is nearly done and there's only two more to go!

  2. What happened!!!????? Fingers crossed he passed OK... I know those medical exams are a complete bugger.

  3. We won't know for awhile. We should know this week if he has to do any re-sits (the likelihood is high) but we won't know for sure if he's passed till the 20th of December. So either a very good Christmas present… or not!